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The House that Art Built

The House that Art Built

The House that Art Built

The House that Art Built

The House that Art Built

December 1, 1997
December 1997
The House that Art Built
Money is no object for the Getty Trust, as it builds its collections and does good works around the globe. Now it has a new home overlooking Los Angeles. "I've always said that Getty-watching is like going to the Indianapolis 500," says John Walsh, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. "You're not there to see them go round and round. You're there to see them hit the wall." The Getty Trust, whose extraordinary wealth has made it a target of both envy and scorn, will open its flagship Getty Center on December 16. The billion-dollar museum and research campus, designed by Richard Meier and perched on a ridge in the foothills of California's Santa Monica Mountains, is the home of an art institution whose focus has expanded exponentially since the death of J. Paul Getty, its oil baron founder, in 1976...

Ahead of the curve: the art of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Ahead of the curve: the art of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Ahead of the curve: the art of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Ahead of the curve: the art of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Ahead of the curve: the art of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

January 1, 1997
January 1997
Ahead of the curve: the art of Charles Rennie Mackintosh
The Scottish architect and designer, in vogue at the turn of the century, is hot again, and coming to America. With his wife, Margaret, he changed the face of Glasgow; now the city is celebrating them by sending a major exhibition across the pond. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the masterful Scottish architect and designer, created his small stock of exquisite work in a brief outburst of youthful exuberance around the turn of the century and then slipped into a desperate decline. After Mackintosh died in 1928, a critic described him as "the European counterpart of Frank Lloyd Wright" and a forerunner of Le Corbusier. In 1994, a Mackintosh writing desk was sold at auction in London for an astounding 793,500 pounds, setting a record for a piece of 20th-century furniture. But Mackintosh never felt the kind of acclaim during his lifetime that critics shower on great artists. After tasting early success in his native Glasgow, a depressed Mackintosh found himself falling out of fashion. Drinking too much, he muttered bitterly in his 40s about the world passing him by. Long before he died, he gave up architecture and design...

At the Hermitage, an artful secret comes to light

At the Hermitage, an artful secret comes to light

At the Hermitage, an artful secret comes to light

At the Hermitage, an artful secret comes to light

At the Hermitage, an artful secret comes to light

March 1, 1995
March 1995
At the Hermitage, an artful secret comes to light
A fabulous cache of Impressionist and other paintings, hidden for 50 years, is surfacing in a new exhibit at the Hermitage, Russia's museum of the czars in St. Petersburg. The paintings, by masters such as Van Gogh, Degas, Monet and Renoir, were confiscated from Germany by the Red Army at the close of World War II. One of the most opulent sites on Earth, the Hermitage includes the Winter Palace of the Romanov czars, who lived on a scale of lavish luxury rivaled only by the Bourbons and the Habsburgs. It's history goes back to Czar Peter the Great and the founding of St. Petersburg in 1703 as "a window on Europe" for Mother Russia. By 1783, Catherine the Great had purchased artworks by the thousands. To house them she added annex after annex to the Winter Palace, calling them her Hermitage — literally, a home for hermits; figuratively, a refuge.

Take a look at a town that wouldn't lie down and die

Take a look at a town that wouldn't lie down and die

Take a look at a town that wouldn't lie down and die

Take a look at a town that wouldn't lie down and die

Take a look at a town that wouldn't lie down and die

May 1, 1994
May 1994
Take a look at a town that wouldn't lie down and die
The mill closing augured ill for Chemainus. But spruced up, with bright murals everywhere, it's turned into a Canadian tourist haven. Like mist over the nearby bay, a cold gloom hovered over the little Vancouver Island town of Chemainus as it faced the 1980s. The waterfront sawmill, mainstay for more than a century, was losing millions of dollars a year. Then the government of British Columbia agreed to subsidize a downtown revitalization program that would spruce up the shops on Willow Street with planters, benches and parking space. But supermarkets were sprouting in bigger towns just a few miles down the Trans-Canada Highway. Who would shop in tiny Chemainus, even a spruced-up Chemainus? "People were wondering whether the town was going to die or not," says Rodney Moore, a retired meal shop owner. The death knell seemed sure in 1983 when the mill shut down. Yet today, Canada's Chemainus is a thriving town, hued in sprightly pastels, a kind of gingerbread Carmel of the North that attracts 400,000 tourists a year, most making a detour to take in 32 murals now adorning the sides of buildings and standing walls in a festival of color.

For Joan Miró, poetry and painting were the same

For Joan Miró, poetry and painting were the same

For Joan Miró, poetry and painting were the same

For Joan Miró, poetry and painting were the same

For Joan Miró, poetry and painting were the same

November 1, 1993
November 1993
For Joan Miró, poetry and painting were the same
And although the works of the noted Catalan artist appear spontaneous and free, they were really the product of disciplined intensity. On a sun-seared April afternoon 15 years ago, another foreign correspondent and I called on Joan Miró at his home on a hill just outside Palma on the craggy, medieval island of Majorca. A few days short of his 85th birthday, the impish yet seemingly shy painter, wearing a suit and tie, received us in his living room, a typical Spanish bourgeois salon with stuffed furniture, houseplants and shelves of knickknacks. The decor, in fact, included several pieces of the white-painted, clay-molded, folk-crafted whistle figures that tourists always buy in Majorca. The paintings, tapestry and fan on the walls, however, did not blend in. All were original Mirós. Polite, pleased to meet journalists from the country that first hailed his genius, Miró, during more than two hours of conversation in Spanish, acknowledged that outsiders might be surprised at how ordinary he seemed, how different from the images of his more bohemian, more histrionic, more eccentric compatriots Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. "I live like a normal citizen," he said. "But there is a Catalan saying that the procession marches inside you. What happens is inside...

Chico Mendes

Chico Mendes

Chico Mendes

Chico Mendes

Chico Mendes

February 1, 1991
February 1991
Chico Mendes
For decades, Brazilian politicians and patriots have concerned themselves with visions of taming the Amazon River basin, an area almost as large as the United States, home to approximately 15 million species of plants and animals, tangled under the largest stretch of dense, daunting tropical forest left on Earth. The Brazilians envisioned bulldozing and burning enormous tracts of the forest, clearing them for cattle ranches and some farms, laying highways across the basin, and fashioning great cities. Most Brazilians knew that some Indians in habited the forest but were not pre pared to find tens of thousands of rubber tappers, relics of the past, still living there as well (Smithsonian. November 1989). As they forged ahead with their schemes, violent conflict became inevitable, a violence at least as terrible as that spawned by the conquest of the American West. Out of that violence came the murder of Chico Mendes, the rumpled. 44-year-old leader of a local tappers' union who had become the unlikely hero of environmental groups throughout the world. The international outcry over his death astounded and unnerved Brazil...
The Burning Season by Andrew RevkinThe World is Burning by Alex Shoumatoff
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Exxon Valdez

Exxon Valdez

Exxon Valdez

Exxon Valdez

Exxon Valdez

September 1, 1990
September 1990
Exxon Valdez
This book reads like the screenplay of a science fiction horror movie: a monstrous slick of blackness, engulfing birds and otters and seals before spewing them out as sticky, fluttering, moribund globs, rushes incessantly toward the innocents of Alaska, ready to lash the pristine coast with deadly and indelible filth. A host of tiny people scratch and prick at the monster, yet retreat steadily from the maw of its rage. But, unlike many screenplays, this story has no happy ending, no hero to slay the dragon. The slick is never controlled, and America is left with its worst environmental disaster. In a swift, unadorned and remark ably evenhanded manner, Art Davidson, an Alaskan nature writer, tells the story of the grounding of the tanker Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound in 1989, the spill of more than ten million gallons of oil into the waters, the frantic and futile efforts to clear the spill, and the terrible havoc visited upon the fragile environment of Alaska...
In the Wake of the Exxon Valdez by Art Davidson
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Studios of Paris

Studios of Paris

Studios of Paris

Studios of Paris

Studios of Paris

June 1, 1989
June 1989
Studios of Paris
Delacroix, Manet, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Rodin. Seurat, Degas, Matisse and thousands of other French artists, many penniless then and still unknown, had studios in Paris. Foreigners such as Sargent, Whistler, Chagall and Miró felt they had no choice but to rush there. From the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, almost all artists looked to Paris as their mecca. In this unusual and carefully illustrated book, John Milner, head of the Department of Fine Art at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England, describes how French tradition and government policy, along with Parisian commerce and practical necessity, combined to create a kind of factory of art in Paris in the 19th century...
The Studios of Paris: The Capital of Art in the Late Nineteenth Century by John Milner

Soutine: The power and the fury of an eccentric genius

Soutine: The power and the fury of an eccentric genius

Soutine: The power and the fury of an eccentric genius

Soutine: The power and the fury of an eccentric genius

Soutine: The power and the fury of an eccentric genius

November 1, 1988
November 1988
Soutine: The power and the fury of an eccentric genius
Isolated and tormented, he once said that he was going to murder his paintings, but fortunately they are still with us. When I graduated from the City College of New York in 1952, my Uncle Morris had a heart-to-heart talk with me. He told me to work hard, get a steady job and not spend the rest of my life struggling in a Paris garret like his cousin Soutine. "Chaim Soutine, the painter?" I asked. "You mean you've heard of him?" replied Uncle Morris. My late Uncle Morris' ignorance might seem inexcusable. By 1952, Soutine's paintings graced the collections of the Phillips Gallery in Washington, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, the Chicago Art Institute and other museums throughout the United States. MOMA and the Cleveland Museum of Art had recently mounted a major retrospective of his work. His reputation had been set in the art world for many years...

The World of Bosch

The World of Bosch

The World of Bosch

The World of Bosch

The World of Bosch

March 1, 1988
March 1988
The World of Bosch
With his bizarre and fearsome images, the enigmatic master of apocalypse still speaks to us across five centuries. A half-millennium ago when Europe was moving out of the Middle Ages, Hieronymus Bosch, a prosperous painter and landowner in the duchy of Brabant in what is now the Netherlands, was widely admired as one of the cleverest, most pious, most perceptive, most apocalyptic masters of his times. He then slipped into several hundred years of obscurity. The symbolism and message of his terrifying masterpieces seemed bizarre and unsavory and even heretical. But he has been rediscovered in the 20th century. American tourists, who have little Bosch at home, now crowd through the museums of Europe to be awed by his great triptychs or to track down his smaller masterpieces...